Tag Archives: Singing

Thursday Morning Melody: A Case of You (James Wolpert version)

We have posted before how much we like a good cover, especially when it re-does the original. Recently on NBC’s The Voice (the best reality show on television by the way, take that as you will) James Wolpert did a show stopping rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You.”

Now we know that trying to cover Joni is trying to walk on hallowed ground. Many have tried and failed to recapture the beauty and gritty of Joni’s bravado, but James actually slowed the song down even more and his smooth crooning grounded this acoustic version into something really beautiful. Take a look at this and tell us you don’t get chills during his last go at the chorus.

It turns out that amazing vocal power runs in the family. James Wolpert is the cousin of famous Broadway performer and Glee-guest star Jonathan Groff! James was eliminated from The Voice in the semi-finals this week but we think with vocals like this we’ll definitely be hearing from him soon (and look forward to it!)

This song has been on repeat for days in the Intent office though and we hope that you enjoy this beautiful and moving rendition of a classic.

What do you think of James’ version of “Case of You”? Did he nail it or is the original better? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch: The Evolution of Music

You might not recognize the name Pentatonix, but you should. Pentatonix, the winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off”, have steadily climbed in popularity marrying acappella singing with radio hits. Today’s video of the day is their medley “The Evolution of Music” covering their favorites from the 1600s to today.

Again, everything you’re about to hear is made with their voices, no instruments at all. Prepare to be amazed.


Did you hear any of your favorites?

Like the video? Tell us what you think or show us your favorite a cappella videos in the comments below.  

Watch: Adorable Girl Creates Her Own Fireworks

Sometimes you want to see fireworks even when it’s not the Fourth of July or New Years. Such was the case with this little girl who couldn’t sleep because she was sure she could hear them. To calm her down her dad picked up a ukelele and the two tried a duet. Of course, there were demanded breaks to watch the fireworks happening in this little girl’s imagination.

It just goes to show life is always better with a little imagination. Let’s give a thumbs up to dad of the year on that pink ukelele as well! What  did you think of the video? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Autism Sings Out…Dance

 One out of ninety-one children are autistic. A global escalation has put disabilities as a targeted concern.  From Jay Leno’s recent coverage to John Travolta’s son, Jet’s   untimely death, to alarming statistical findings has elicited concern for our own children, neighbors, and friends. We are asking a vital question: Why the escalation?

Dr. J. Blumenthal, a neurologist, lists among the possible causes of Autism: environmental toxins, mercury, the preservative Thimerosal in vaccinations, processed food, compromised immune systems, and a genetic propensity. He advocates identifying the underlying cause before medicating and suggests the earlier the diagnosis helps the prognosis. If you suspect your child has a behavioral, language or speech challenge have an assessment. Your local school may have someone on staff to begin the process or they can recommend one.

Parents feel distraught upon hearing the initial diagnosis –Autism. A pediatrician often seals the fate, “Your child is disordered and it will last for a lifetime.”  Reticent to give false hope they tell you what your child can’t do, rather than encouraging what they can do. Unable to predict the future, the journey of negotiating through this complicated syndrome becomes a maze of uncertainty. What treatments, diet, speech, social skills therapy or alternative modalities to pursue? How can a challenged child fit-in, end the isolation of being different and feeling out of sync?  Without isolating in their private world, is there something he or she can relate to, feel good about, including moments of respite?

When I heard Joanne Lara’s, a notable expert on Autism (M.A. in special education and a BA in dance) words,  “I’m on a mission to bring arts back into the schools and into the lives of our kids”, my heart leaped with applause. Fifteen years earlier I had made the same commitment with our Morph America Programs, geared for the arts.

Her enthusiasm blazed, sharing the benefits of her program Autism Movement therapy(AMT), a method to ‘wake up’ the brain.  AMT is an empowering sensory integration strategy that connects both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Ms. Lara explained, “There’s a bridge between the left and right hemisphere that transmits information. What happens with Autistic kids is that the transmission of the information is not going through. Dance and music forces the brain to reorganize itself. Through music and movement the child is asked to hear the music, process the sequence and the patterns, and then dance, it takes both sides of the brain to dance. A child, who rarely says a word, will sing.”

Children with autism excel in art: Visual arts, yoga, martial arts, horseback riding and surfing are effective and enjoyable adjuncts to traditional therapy.

The whole brain cognitive thinking approach can improve behavior, emotional states, academic performance, social and speech language skills.  AMT offers a twelve-week period in which the individual can increase overall self–determination awareness along with healthier, improved self-esteem, the ultimate goal.

After attending AMT classes, and using Aut-erobics, an empowering companion video, the mother of a 9-year-old related that her daughter finally found a way to relate to her peers, and she had made her first friend. A miracle to behold: for a child that was isolated, refused to speak, or look someone in the eye. 

Ms Lara shared, “We’ve seen extraordinary breakthroughs in motor and cognitive skills. Kids have fun, they laugh, and they dance their hearts out. Interaction with music opens their trust levels and their soul bursts forth. Dancing and singing is a living dream for a child who won’t speak, but desperately wants acceptance.” Autistic children feel their way through life, rather than think their way. They sense their environment first and pick up things we don’t ordinarily perceive. We tend to label and identify, while they are they are communicating through behavior and their emotions.

Watching Ms. Lara interact with students is an eye-opener; literally she makes direct eye contact, something autistic children typically avoid. She uses her whole body in a rhythmic flowing sign language that allows choice. She motions to the floor “Do you want to sit?” Then lunges a leg toward the dance floor, “Or you can dance.” Most of the children will choose dance.

Open and authentic communication with our children is vital. If you are sad, don’t deny your emotions with a happy face, instead be truthful and relate, “I am sad.” Authenticity alleviates confusion for the child who senses the discrepancy and needs help to put his emotional, upside-down world in order.

Learning whole-brain techniques apply to all of us. Learning to communicate, to listen, to acknowledge your child fundamentally as OK, helps to discipline, to be heard, and keep trust channels open with your children. If you are challenged to give direct statements to your child, whether he’s autistic or in the normal range, Aut-erobics could help build your skills to discipline, communicate effectively, and have fun with your child.

www.merrieway.com

 

 

Singing for the Soul

Music is the key to stress reduction.  When times are tough there is nothing better than listening to great music, playing instruments, dancing to music and singing.  Singing is particularly helpful during stressful times. If you want to be more relaxed and feel closer to the God of your understanding, open your mouth and sing. You do not have to be professional. All you have to do is sing.  And each time you sing, you will experience your breath in a new way.  Breath is life, and breath is singing.

AN INCREDIBLE DREAM

Thirty years of my working life were spent teaching guitar and singing.  One night I had an incredible dream that was life changing for me and for many of the students I would teach thereafter.  I hope that as you read about this dream, a message from spirit, it will be life changing for you also.  In my dream I was teaching a voice class.  I turned to my students who were all sitting on the floor and asked "Why to you come to singing class week after week? Why do you devote time to practicing each week? What is it that makes you so committed to singing?"   The students looked at each other and then they looked at me as if I had just asked them insane questions? Then they answered in unison "BECAUSE SINGING MAKES US HAPPY!"   At that point in the dream,  my attention was drawn to a large sign on the wall. Written on this sign in big letters were the words "SINGING FOR THE SOUL."

I woke from this dream with tears of happiness. I knew then and still know, that when I sing my heart opens and I receive Divine guidance.

Open your mouth and sing.  Sing in the shower if you like, or sing to a thousand people. It does not matter. Just sing and as the breath of songs flows from you, you will feel better.

Psychic Medium and Inspirational Author Carole Lynne

www.carolelynne.com

www.carolelynnecosmicconnection.com

Sing Your Stress Away

Whether singing in the shower, the car, with a choir or a small child, “sound therapy” is linked to health benefits for body and spirit. Since ancient times singing has been considered a healing tool especially chanting and we all know that countries have created national anthems to generate patriotism. Sound can influence brain wave frequencies and promote well-being by doing the following:

* Reduce stress and improve mood
* Lower your blood pressure
* Boost your immune system
* Improve breathing
* Reduce perceived pain
* Improve a sense of rhythm
* Promote learning in children
* Forge comforting memories
* Promote communal bonding
* Provide comfort 
* Motivate and empower

Medical research
Ongoing research in alternative and complementary medicine is examining the healing role of singing regarding chronic pain management. Research published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004 claimed that group singing helped people to cope better with chronic pain. In many senior centers singing as a memory trigger is currently being studied, intellectually for slowing down mental decline and emotionally for building self-esteem. For example, Alzheimer’s patients who can no longer carry on a conversation are able to sing all the lyrics to songs from their past!

It all begins in infancy because singing to children presents a pathway in the brain for sensory stimulation. Not only does it set the stage for fun, but their brains are stimulated and open up to new sensations. And the best part is that you don’t have to have a good voice – they love the sound of your voice – what an ego booster!

Then of course you might be talented, take voice lessons and sing in a choir to earn professional kudos. In an impressive study, scientists from the University of Frankfurt in Germany tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir before and after an hour long rehearsal of Mozart’s “Requiem.” Concentrations of immunoglobin A (antibodies) – and hydrocortisone (a stress-reducing hormone) increased during the rehearsal.  In contrast, the following week when they asked members of the choir to listen to a recording of the “Requiem” without singing, they found the composition of their blood did not change significantly. The conclusion: singing boosts the immune system while it reduces stress.

The take home message: Listening to music is great, but singing makes you an active participant. We are so stressed with busyness that we hardly sing with friends or with our children. The next time you feel tense, worried or afraid, try singing a happy tune. You will note that your mood and performance will improve. Bonus: You don’t have to have a professional sounding voice.

Susan Boyle Reveals our Misassumptions

The first time I saw the YouTube video of Susan Boyle, I was pretty much blown away by her voice and the energy she invoked from the audience.

 But what sticks with me is the reaction of the very attractive judges—first of mockery when she stood before them, then once they heard Susan’s voice, of delight and amazement.
 
Why is there amazement that an ordinary looking woman can hold a tune and have a beautiful voice? Why on earth would people make the assumption that an average looking person, or a disabled individual, or even terribly disfigured soul can’t sing?
 
Statistically, more ordinary people have great voices than very attractive ones do. It’s simple—let’s say that 75% of the population is ordinary looking and the rest fall on either side of the spectrum. Does it make any statistical sense that only the gifted in looks would also be gifted in voice?

Of course, ones singling ability has nothing to do with ones looks. What set Susan Boyle apart was her willingness—her courageousness—to face an audience and judges so warped as to assume only good looking people could sing.

 
The reality is, we have lots of famous singers who are pretty mediocre (at best) singers. They do, however, have other attributes: good looks, confidence, and performance ability. Virtually all of today’s female icons that could not even begin to compete with Susan’s voice. Instead, they know how to wear attention grabbing clothing, to dance and move; and they look great. These singers pick easy songs to sing that anyone who can carry a tune could pull off.
 
So why is the world so amazed with Susan Boyle? Certainly, she can sing and has a lovely voice. But are we amazed at her voice or is it her courageousness—her chutzpah—to stand before judges as an ordinary looking woman and ask to be given the chance that floors us? If so, shame on us.
 
On the other hand… many people, listeners of popular music only, may never have heard such a fine voice as Susan’s. Many are simply moved by her angelic voice.
 
 
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Sing Your Song

‘What is your song?’ you may wonder.

Your song is the expression of the silence within. It is the form created from the formless.

All the while you hold to the ideas of others that are not resonating with your internal Truth, you will be preventing yourself from real satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.

The remedy is a simple one, accessible to you in every moment.

Go within.

Look. Feel. Hear.

Know.

And in knowing, your expression will happen naturally. You will be singing your song.

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